Defamation (Libel / Slander): Injured
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Defamation (Libel / Slander)

Defamation, Libel and Slander are all interrelated concepts involving personal injury to one's reputation. Libel and slander are both forms of the larger concept of defamation. Although the elements of both forms of defamation are almost identical to one and other, the key difference with the two is the fact that libel refers to defamation that can be seen whereas slander consists of oral defamatory communications.

Special rules are accorded to defamation involving public officials or public figures, where the communication is about a matter of public concern.


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Top Personal Injury Legal Questions From FindLaw Answers

You've got questions... we've got answers. If you have not yet asked or answered a question in FindLaw's Answers community, what are you waiting for? This amazing free resource supports a dynamic community of legal consumers and attorneys helping each other out. Simple as that.

We see a lot of great questions in our Answers community every day. Here's a look at some recent questions relating to injuries, accident, and torts from our FindLaw Answers boards:

What's the legal difference between libel and slander?

As you may know, both libel and slander are forms of defamation -- a false statement that harms a person's reputation. To prove either libel or slander in court, a victim also needs to show that the statement was negligently, recklessly, or intentionally "published" (disseminated) to a third party.

However, there are a few legal distinctions between libel and slander, notably regarding how the alleged defamation was disseminated (written or spoken) and whether a victim must prove monetary damages as a result of the false statement. Here's a brief overview:

What Is Social Media Defamation? Do You Have a Case?

People say hurtful and offensive things on social media all the time. But when do these words cross the line into legally actionable defamation?

Offensive social media posts can be product of Internet "trolling" (which more than 1 in 4 Americans have admitted to doing) or real life conflicts carried over into the online sphere. And while gossip, disagreements, or even old fashioned name calling may be disagreeable, in order for a social media post to be considered defamation -- and for the individual behind the post to be held liable for damages -- several specific requirements must be met.

When does a social media post rise to the level of defamation?

Jesse "The Body" Ventura has emerged victorious in court, to the tune of $1.8 million in a defamation case against "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle.

The former pro wrestler-turned-Minnesota governor sued Kyle for publishing an anecdote in his book. Kyle claimed he "decked" Ventura after hearing him say that the Navy SEALs "deserve to lose a few," reports St. Paul's KSTP-TV. Before his death in 2013, Kyle denied that he fabricated the story, but a jury may have believed otherwise.

How did Ventura squeeze $1.8 million out of this defamation suit?

Teacher Gets $363K for Students' Lies, Defamation

Two California students and their parents are being held financially liable for the defamation of a teacher.

Former Catholic school physical education teacher John Fischler, 49, filed the defamation lawsuit after two schoolgirls branded him a "perv" and "creeper," and spread false rumors that he'd inappropriately touched kids and peeked into a girls' restroom at Holy Spirit School in San Jose.

After being cleared of the allegations, Fischler was awarded $362,653 in compensatory damages. Punitive damages are soon to follow.

Tawana Brawley Hoax: Defamation Payments Begin

Tawana Brawley's hoax is going to haunt her for the rest of her life in the form of monthly payments.

Twenty-six years after the infamous hoax, Brawley has started making defamation payments to Steven Pagones, the ex-prosecutor whom she falsely accused of rape in 1987.

Brawley made her first payment last week -- in checks totaling $3,764.61 -- though she still owes Pagones $431,000 in defamation damages.

Hiring an Injury Lawyer? 5 Questions to Ask

Hiring the right personal injury lawyer is crucial, and there are many questions that you may have swirling in your head. That's not just from getting knocked down by that bicyclist, either.

Whether we like it or not, injuries are often unpreventable, as run-of-the-mill accidents happen all the time. But other types of injuries -- including intentional torts and economic injuries -- often are preventable, and may leave you aching for justice.

Luckily, with the right attorney, you can have your injury matter resolved as painlessly and as quickly as possible. Here are five questions you'll want to consider asking when hiring an injury lawyer:

For many young singles, summer means plenty of new relationships and sexy flings with Australian girls named Sandy. But it can also mean you getting your pants sued off.

Summer lovers would be wise to remember these three potential causes of action that may follow getting some action:

The father of a boy misidentified by the New York Post as a Boston Marathon bombing suspect may soon extract his legal pound of flesh from the tabloid, as he is seeking counsel for a potential lawsuit.

El Houssein Barhoum, father of 16-year-old Salah Barhoum, says the possible lawsuit would seek compensation for the emotional stress and upheaval his family and his son have faced since the erroneous story was printed, reports The Washington Post.

Whether or not the Barhoum family decides to sue, it may be tricky to sue a newspaper.

Mugshot Websites Sued Over Takedown Fees

Several mugshot websites are being sued for allegedly trying to profit off the mugshots they publish, which are allegedly hurting the reputations of people who are later found innocent.

According to an Ohio class action lawsuit, mugshot websites like JustMugshots.com, BustedMugshots.com, MugshotsOnline.com, and FindMugshots.com post mugshots of people after they've been arrested. So when you search for a person's name on Google, for example, you may be able to find that person's mugshot on one of these sites, reports NPR.

However, after a person is later cleared of criminal charges, these websites don't automatically take down the mugshots or update their websites. Instead, only after the person pays a fee of up to $500 will the websites take down a mugshot, the lawsuit claims. The plaintiffs argue that this profiteering off of mugshots violates their rights over their own images.